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August 1969

Our Role in the Generation, Modification, and Termination of Life

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine and Division of Endocrinology, University of Washington, Seattle.

Arch Intern Med. 1969;124(2):215-237. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300180087017

Problems concerning the total size and quality of the population are mounting rapidly, and the introduction of many drugs, life-sustaining apparatus, and organ replacements provoke various moral, philosophic, psychological, social, economic, medical, and legal questions. These factors are considered with particular reference to genetic bioengineering, antifertility measures, contributions of amniocentesis, liberalization of abortion policies, organ transplantations, gerontology, suicide, euthanasia, and measures for rapid and efficient utilization of cadaver organs and tissues. Included in this communication also are results from a questionnaire, dealing with several of these problems, submitted to all members of the Association of Professors of Medicine and the Association of American Physicians.

In dealing with these major issues, the physician is presented with questions concerning the amount and type of life that should be generated, the extent to which life should be modified, and the extent of efforts in prolonging of terminating life.

Control of the Quantity and